Irwin recovers from crash to pile pressure on leader Dixon
The opening salvos were fired during yesterday's free practice ahead of the eighth round of the British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park tomorrow with Jake Dixon setting the fastest lap in the second free practice session ahead of Danny Buchan and championship leader Leon Haslam, all three Kawasaki mounted.
Carrick rider Glenn Irwin, on his PBM Be Wiser Ducati, was fourth fastest, three-quarters of a second behind provisional pole man Dixon with today's qualifying still to come.
Irwin's time was set on his 14th and final lap after he had crashed, uninjured, in the closing seconds of the opening session at the bottom of the mountain.
Only the top four riders broke into the 1m 26sec bracket while Bradley Ray and Toome's Michael Laverty, on his Tyco BMW, completed the top six, a tenth of a second splitting the pair with Laverty looking to move closer to the crucial top six Showdown position come tomorrow.
Andrew Irwin, ninth fastest in the opening session, went 0.712 seconds faster in the afternoon practice on his PBM Be Wiser Ducati, ending the day eighth fastest.
Tyco BMW Superstock 1000 championship leader Keith Farmer ended his day in second position half a second behind Billy McConnell, one of his chief rivals in the series, while second in the championship, EHA Aprilia rider Joe Collier, was down in sixth and Ballinamallard's Josh Elliott, the winner last time out, fourth fastest.
Supersport championship first and second Jack Kennedy and Ben Currie continued their fierce season rivalry dipping into the 1m 29sec laps with the Appleyard McAdam Integro Yamaha of Kennedy a tenth faster than the Gearlink Kawasaki after their two sessions ahead of today's qualifying and opening sprint race.
On the Isle of Man this evening, practice for the 2018 Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix gets under way from 5.20pm with the Newcomers' speed-controlled lap followed by three practice sessions.
Lee Johnston leads the local challenge in the Classic TT events riding under the Davies Motorsport banner on the latest specification Senior and Junior Honda machinery. Johnston is joined by Alan Oversby and Dominic Herbertson in what is a very strong line-up.
The Maguiresbridge rider finished second in last year's race when riding a Black Eagle MV Agusta, that race won by Michael Rutter, again mounted on a Ripley Land Honda this year.
The 23-times TT winner John McGuinness is set to return to Mountain Circuit action on the Winfield Patton in the Senior Classic practice this evening, with his first racing action since his 2017 North West 200 practice accident eagerly awaited.